Kemble originates from the great UK manufacturing period of the late nineteenth century. Back then numerous UK based piano manufacturers were producing thousands of pianos every year, supplying the home market and a rapidly expanding middle class. In a time without CD/record players, TV or computer games, the piano took centre stage in the home for evening entertainment.
Kemble Pianos was founded in 1911 by Michael Kemble in Stoke Newington, North London. North London was at the heart of the UK piano manufacturing industry; in Camden alone there were reputedly 100 small scale factories and workshops. In the 1950s the company moved to a state-of-the-art factory in Bletchley. Sales grew rapidly and the company needed to expand production, leading to Kemble’s joint venture with The Yamaha Corporation of Japan in 1968. This joint venture would eventually be established as Yamaha-Kemble Music (UK) Ltd. In 1985 Kemble and Co. started making a range of acoustic pianos for Yamaha, to be sold in the UK market and, two years later, Yamaha chose Kemble to become its European manufacturing partner.
In 2009 manufacturing of Kemble pianos moved to Yamaha’s factories in the Far East. This was highly significant as by that point Kemble were the only UK based piano manufacturers. A combination of factors such as labour costs and a declining demand for acoustic pianos explained the move. This was a familiar story for all those other workshops of the last century closing their doors. Despite production being based abroad, Kemble was able to celebrate 100 years of designing and manufacturing pianos in 2011.
Here at the Piano Shop Bath, we have several good pre-owned pianos from the Kemble firm. One model in our showroom was built in 1987, making it a piece of history as one of those pianos built in the UK. It has a more a mellow tone than its brighter counterparts, but produces lovely warmth and subtlety when required. Its mahogany finish and traditional front leg construction is a typical example of a piano built for the home. Another model we have was built post 2000. With a high polished black finish and traditional construction, it very much resembles a Yamaha. On playing however it gives a sensitive array of tones and colours, and would easily meet the requirements of any level of pianist.
To learn more about this interesting range of pianos, come down to our showroom and hear for yourself!
The history of Kemble pianos was sourced from the Kemble website: http://kemble-pianos.com/